A group of leading Israeli film and television artists have signed onto an online petition supporting the right of theater actors to refuse to perform in the newly opened arts center in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
"A number of Knesset members and ministers from Yisrael Beitenu and Likud and other right-wing figures are calling for cutting off funding to artists that this week called for a boycott of the cultural center in Ariel," the online petition said.
"Threats of this type by these Knesset Members do not scare us," the petition continued. "As Israeli citizens, the refusal of these theater actors to perform in Ariel, which is not within the borders of Israeli sovereignty, is a democratic right."
"It is unconscionable that the resistance to the settlement enterprise, a belief shared by a substantial amount of the Israeli public, has turned into an illegitimate position that leads to slandering, silencing, and funding cuts," said the petition.
The Ariel cultural center celebrated its official opening last week, including a performance by the Be'er Sheva theater group.
Dozens of Israeli theater figures had sent a letter to Be'er Sheva Theater actors on November 5, urging them to join their battle and boycott the newly built arts center.
In September, a group of theater actors and public figures signed a petition saying they would not perform in the new Ariel center as a protest of Israel's settlement policies. The protest was supported by over 150 academics.
Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday that he will act against the boycotting artists by halting direct funding of their travel expenses for shows abroad and by preventing their appearances before state bodies.
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